Earlier this week, the series finale of the popular television show Game of Thrones became the most popular illegal torrent ever. In space of 24 hours, the episode was downloaded over a million times. Naturally, this saw the seemingly never ending piracy debate surface to the top of people’s agenda’s once again.
This time, however, BitTorrent’s Vice President of Marketing Matt Mason fought back against critics of his site, which drew negative reactions from some due to its alleged hosting of illegal files. On a blog post on BitTorrent’s website, he claimed that BitTorrent “doesn’t host infringing content”. He went on to say that they “don’t tally up illegal download, and crown pirate-kings”, and that they would rather focus on legal content. He pointed out that there most popular download is Epic Meal Time, which is distributed legally, and the blog ended with a plea to users to watch the show through measures that do not infringe copyright.
These claims may seem baffling to anyone who’s ever torrented music, as BitTorrent is usually involved in the process. However, Mason explains that “It’s literally impossible to illegally download something from BitTorrent”. “To pirate stuff, you need more than a protocol” he explains, “You need a search, a pirate content site and a content manager. We offer none of these things.”
However, this is not to say that this technology cannot be used to aid piracy. By connecting uses straight to each other through a direct line, so users can trade files with each other. Such technology has proved popular with piracy websites, who use it to link users to illegal files hosted on user’s computers. With the large amount of files uploaded to BitTorrent, it can be very difficult to moderate illegal content effectively. For example, TorrentFreak claim that over 170,000 people were sharing just one episode of Game of Thrones.
Whilst there was an obvious need from BitTorrent to fight their corner, the owner of the content, HBO, seems nonplussed. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, HBO’s Programming President told them that the massive pirating of the show was a “compliment of sorts”. He went on to explain that “The demand is there, and it certainly didn’t negatively impact DVD sales.” and that piracy is “something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”.
Of course, it goes without saying that illegal torrenting has an impact on the music industry. These days, it is easier to list album that you can’t illegally download rather than ones that you can. However, whether this is actually harmful to the industry is a debate that has been raging on from decades. Some people, such as Metallica’s drummer and professional motormouth Lars Ulrich, are dead against it, to the extent where they took on peer to peer file sharing sites in court. However, as previously reported on The Pro Audio Web Blog, Kanye West gives “no f*cks at all” if people download his latest album, ‘Yeezus’, illegally. Who do you side with?
Earlier this week, the series finale of the popular television show Game of Thrones became the most popular illegal torrent ever. In space of 24 hours, the episode was downloaded over a million times...